Death Valley visitor gets stuck in snow, survives overnight in backcountry

A woman from New York was traveling in a rented SUV in the remote backcountry of Death Valley National Park when she encountered deep snow on Hunter Mountain Road, a gravel road located in the northwest region of the park.

At about 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, she decided to turn around but got stuck in the snow, Death Valley National Park reported Friday afternoon in a news release.

Without cell power, the unnamed woman remained in her vehicle overnight. Fortunately she had extra food, water, camping gear and warm clothing.

In the morning, the woman hiked several hours up the mountain until receiving cell power.

Finally, she called 911 and managed to give her general location before the call cut out. The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office relayed the details to Death Valley National Park and a rescue was launched.

Deep snow and mud prevented a park ranger from reaching the woman, but a California Highway Patrol helicopter located her, landed on the roadway and picked her up.

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She was evaluated by National Park Service emergency medical service personnel at Furnace Creek Airport.

Kevin Ross, emergency services coordinator for Death Valley National Park, applauded the woman’s wise choices during the ordeal, saying, “The supplies the woman had with her in the vehicle helped her survive. In addition, aside from hiking to call 911, she stayed with her vehicle.”

According to a report on the Death Valley Road Conditions Facebook page, park rangers helped dig out five vehicles from the snow on Wednesday. The national park announced that the South pass (a backcountry dirt road) is impassable due to 3 feet of snow.

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